The Pussycar: An Automodule That Does Wheelies

The Pussycar, or Automodule, was the name of a promotional vehicle made by Jean Pierre Ponthieu in Paris in 1986.

Ponthieu is said to be a mad French genius who used to work in advertising, known as the Buckminster Fuller of this field. His Pussycar was described as ‘the car of the year 2000′, which obviously was a misjudgment. It’s a tricycle which has its rear wheel powered by a 250 cc single cylinder engine. The Pussycar had some early buyers, but as a consequence of predominantly the high costs and technical instabilities, the vehicle never made it to a broad audience.

In addition to slow forward progress, the vehicle is also able to turn its wheels to drive sideways and rotate in place. The suspension appears to extend and retract hydraulically, This enables the car to make wheelies. Perhaps it never intended to be a serious vehicle. As a 1970s fashion item in Paris it worked quite well, but as a car it never did. Nevertheless, it strokes with Ponthieu’s vision: “In this world where everything is banal and ugly, we must know how to create the beautiful and unusual”.

To lovers of retro-futurism I can highly recommend The Retronaut. This blog often comes up with great series of pictures and videos found in the crypts of the Internet. Particularly interesting to us are their reports about innovations of the past. Ideas, projects, inventions and concepts that proclaimed to have changed the world by the turn of the millennium.